In 2020, Namibia’s exports to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) amounted to N$28.8 billion, down by 13% from its 2019 level of N$33.1 billion. At the country level, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) statistician, Alex Shimuafeni, stated that 97.3% of Namibia’s exports were absorbed by South Africa with 47.3%, Botswana 26%, Zambia 13.8%, DRC 8.6%, and Angola 1.7%.
On the other hand, imports from the region rose by 3.1% to the value of N$74.3 billion when compared to N$72 billion registered in 2019. Similar to exports, 98.4% of Namibia’s imports were mainly sourced from the same countries excluding Angola which was replaced by Togo on the import list.
It can be observed from the foregoing that Namibia’s market for both imports and exports is within the SADC region, in particular mostly dominated by South Africa.
As such, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement provides Namibia with an opportunity to widen its market share for both imports and exports.
The AfCFTA was founded in 2018, and trade under this arrangement commenced on 1 January 2021. The agreement will see 54 members removing tariffs from 90% of goods, which will allow free access to goods and services across the continent.
Namibia’s exports and imports with the African countries and the rest of the world for 2011 to 2020 show that Namibia is at its peak to benefit from the agreement.
Shimuafeni further said the trend of exports to the world has been increasing since 2011, with some noticeable decreases in 2015, 2017, and 2020. On the other hand, the export trend to the rest of Africa was mostly constant from 2013 but declined in 2020.
Analysis by commodity shows that most products absorbed by the AfCFTA include non-metallic mineral manufactures (23.5%), non-monetary gold (22.8%), fish (12.0%), live animals (4.7%), road vehicles (3.6%), and petroleum products (3.5%).
Moreover, the import list mainly comprised non-ferrous metals (36.0%), vehicles (6.2%), petroleum products (4.1%), inorganic chemicals (3.1%), and essential oils (2.8%).
“The commodities list shows that exports are mainly primary products with no value addition while imports are made up of machinery and finished products,” Shimuafeni specified.